Microsoft has officially completed its colossal $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, a deal that brings iconic franchises like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Diablo under the Xbox umbrella.
After a 20-month journey marked by regulatory battles in the UK and US, Microsoft triumphed over the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in a US federal court and restructured the deal to address concerns from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The acquisition, Microsoft’s largest to date, surpasses the $26 billion LinkedIn acquisition in 2016 and the $7.5 billion Bethesda deal in 2021.
This strategic move positions Microsoft as the “third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.”
Phil Spencer (Xbox CEO), expressed enthusiasm about the union, stating, “We love gaming. We play games, create games, and know first-hand how much gaming means to all of us as individuals and collectively, as a community. And today, we officially welcome Activision Blizzard and their teams to Xbox.”
Today is a good day to play. We officially welcome Activision Blizzard King to Team Xbox. Together, we’ll create stories and experiences that bring players together, in a culture empowering everyone to do their best work and celebrate diverse perspectives. https://t.co/KBCESknYYh https://t.co/jTHOeH48Wx
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) October 13, 2023
Spencer emphasizes a shared commitment to a gaming culture that empowers everyone, welcomes diversity, and centers around the ethos of “Gaming for Everyone.”
As part of the integration, Microsoft plans to incorporate many Activision Blizzard games into Xbox Game Pass. Spencer noted, “Today we start the work to bring beloved Activision, Blizzard, and King franchises to Game Pass and other platforms.”
While Modern Warfare 3 and Diablo IV won’t be available on Xbox Game Pass this year, Microsoft’s push into gaming expands further with the addition of over nine Blizzard game studios and more than 11 mobile gaming studios from the King side of the acquisition. Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios now boasts a substantial portfolio.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in his role to aid the transition until the end of 2023.
The labor neutrality agreement, established with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in June 2022, remains a focal point for Microsoft as it upholds its commitment to support employees’ workplace choices and representation. Blizzard’s Albany, NY offices and Activision subsidiary Raven Software have recently seen unionization efforts.
Despite the complexities faced during the acquisition, Microsoft remains steadfast in its vision for a gaming future that leverages the strengths of both entities. The deal adds another significant chapter to the ever-evolving landscape of the gaming industry.